At least 78 people have been killed in clashes at a school in the Yemeni capital Sana’a during a Ramadan charity event, officials said.
TV footage showed crowds of people unable to move and many in distress in the Bab al-Yemen area of the city.
Hundreds of people reportedly gathered at the school late Wednesday to receive donations of around $9 (£7; €8) per person.
The rebel Houthi movement has controlled Sanaa since 2015.
A video posted on social media shows people writhing on the ground with dozens of bodies, some of them motionless. See others trying to help.
Two local businessmen who organized the event have been arrested and are being investigated, the Home Ministry said.
A spokesman for the ministry accused it of “random distribution” of funds without coordination with local authorities.
A health official in Sana’a said another 13 people were seriously injured.
“The dead included women and children,” a Houthi security official told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.
The insurgents reportedly sealed off the school and prevented people, including journalists, from approaching.
The Houthis have reportedly agreed to pay $2,000 (£1,600) to each family that lost a relative, while those injured will receive around $400 (£322).
- Yemen was devastated by a conflict in 2015 when the Houthis overran large parts of the country and a Saudi-led coalition intervened to support the Yemeni government.
- More than 150,000 people have died in the conflict, widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
- More than 23 million people – three-quarters of the population – need some form of help
- Yemen’s internationally recognized government is now based in Aden
The event took place during the final days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
A major prisoner swap between Yemen’s warring sides began last week, seen as part of serious efforts to end the devastating eight-year conflict.
Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee, blamed Wednesday’s crackdown for the country’s humanitarian crisis.
“We hold the occupying countries responsible for what has happened to the bitter reality the Yemeni people are living because of the occupation and blockade,” he said on Twitter.